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Triangle Apartments Slashing Rates Due To High Vacancy Rate

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RALEIGH, N.C. — There is a war going on in the Triangle, but it has nothing to do with guns or the military. It is about apartments. The Triangle's estimated 100,000 apartment units are slashing rents because of a 10-year-high vacancy rate.

Richard Robert Soto and his family just moved from Maryland to Raleigh. His apartment complex cut $100 from his monthly rent.

"Yeah, [it's] a good deal. I'm happy with it," he said. "It's good. I can do a lot of things with $100 every month."

The deals are bringing out renters in some areas. One north Raleigh complex knocked off $200 a month on rent and within two weeks, they filled 60 units.

The apartment building boom of the last couple of years has left "for rent" signs everywhere. Low interest rates have also taken a lot of renters and turned them into homeowners.

Lawrence Berry of the Triangle Apartment Association said the deals right now are the best in 10 years.

"It is the highest vacancy we've had in many years," he said.

Vacancies have gone from 4 percent in 1998 to 10 percent, but Berry said the market eventually will tighten up, and guess who will pay?

"They think about the special they get now, but not always think about what may happen down the road with the landlord raising the rent," he said.

One-third of Triangle residents live in apartments. The last time apartment rent was this low was during the 1991 recession.

Apartments are not the only ones having trouble attracting people. Hotel occupancy in Wake County is down 5 percent from this time last year.


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